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Welcome to the Second Issue of
Our "Spotlight Feature" Series in which we will highlight Prof. dr. ir. Hsiao-Wei Tang and his Team, the Inventor and Creators of the Vesalius Robot for Minimally Invasive Robotic Surgery.
• Please note: VESALIUS Robot is currently not cleared by the CE/FDA and so is limited to Investigational Use.
About Prof. dr. ir. Hsiao-Wei Tang
Hsiao-Wei TANG. Inventor of the VESALIUS Robot
Prof. dr. ir. Hsiao-Wei Tang
inventor of the VESALIUS Robot, has more than 10 years experiences in surgical robot R&D and built three prototypes from scratch with clinical tests and accumulated a broad knowledge in robot assisted surgery. Since 2000 he developed a "CT-image guided needle insertion robot" to solve the problems of patient movement and excessive X-ray exposure for percutaneous ethanol injections of the liver in Taiwan.
He then moved to Belgium and developed his second Laser Laparoscopic Surgical Robot (LLSR) for endometriosis treatment via laser laparoscopy. He also found significant advantages of shorter learning curve and better precision by using his system which paved the foundation of his latter startup project. He invented the Adjustable Remote Center of Motion (ARCM) which is the core technology of his third VESALIUS Robot for Robot Assisted Minimally Invasive Surgery (RAMIS).
Since 2009, Dr. Hsiao-Wei Tang together with Prof. Philippe Koninckx and Prof. Hendrik Van Brussel initiated the 'VESALIUS Robot- a seed for the future' project under the support of research fund K.U.Leuven. He proposed Modular CustoMization (MCM) a concept to improve the usability while taken cost effectiveness into account. He realizes the benefits proven in the research can only take effect by applying in real surgery. He also believes the industrialization of medical robotics will lead to knowledge economy within the region and healthcare innovation around the world.
In 2011, he joined IRCAD-Taiwan, the academy of Minimally Invasive Surgery, and established the 'International Center of Excellence in Medical Robot', (ICEMR)
Prof. Tang is launching the program to bring all parties together to proceed the intensive R&D and to promote the unlimited innovation in surgical and medical robotics.
Public debut of HuaTuo Robot Posted Oct 5, 2011 12:46 AM by hsiao-wei tang [ updated Jan 8, 2012 10:03 AM ] Dear All, I would like make an announcement about the public debut of HuaTuo Robot at 14.00 - 16.00 on November 20th The venue is at the National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall in Taipei Taiwan together in the Technologies of the Future Exhibition (http://www.2011future-tech.com/)
A special session 'The future of surgery' will address the state of the art in Minimally Invasive Surgery, Medical Imaging and Surgical Robotics. It is my great honor to invite Dr. Ming-Zou Ku, Vice President of Show Health Care System to chair this special session. With great appreciation to Dr. James Hurng-Sheng WU, Dean of IRCAD-Taiwan to introduce the training and update of IRCAD. And heartily thanks to Dr. Kai-Che Liu, director of Medical Image Research Department in IRCAD-Taiwan to talk about the advancement in Medical Imaging.
After the official debut on the 20th, the HuaTuo Robot will also be shown at the 2011 International Symposium in Minimally Invasive Surgery and Medical Robotics (http://www.aits.tw/robot/).
This event is dedicated to my promoter Prof. Hendrik Van Brussel who had inspired, cared, helped, guided, supported and pushed me to make something useful. I wish him best of luck for the surgery. I would also like to express my gratitude to all the people in Belgium, France and Taiwan who support me and incubate the VESALIUS/HUATUO Robot: a seed for the future.
This is only the beginning for the 2020 vision in Medical Robotics. Your continued support is requested.
Taiwan's President Ma Ying-Jeou greets Professor Hsiao-Wei Tang at the Forum "Invest in Taiwan."
Updated Status of Prof. dr. ir. Hsiao-Wei Tang, Inventor of the Huatuo/Vesalius Robot posted 5 Jan 2011 22:35 by Tang Hsiao-Wei [ updated 7 Jan 2011 08:32 ]
• Since Jan. 1, 2011 Prof. Tang is no longer affiliated with K. U. Leuven Belgium. • On Jan. 5, 2011 Prof. dr. ir. Hsiao-Wei Tang, Inventor VESALIUS Robot, was appointed adjunct assistant professor to the Department of Biomedical Engineering in National Cheng-Kung University of Taiwan. • Prof. Tang is awarded The Standford-Taiwan Biomedical Fellowship. • In Oct 2011. Prof. Tang will be assigned by the Taiwanese government to learn the experience and explore the opportunities of medical devices in the USA.
The International Center of Excellence in Medical Robotics
Prof. Hsiao-Wei Tang has been appointed to setup International Center of Excellence in Medical Robotics Posted 23 Feb 2011 04:24 by Tang Hsiao-Wei
ICEMR Introduction: The International Center of Excellence in Medical Robotics (ICEMR) is pioneering in robotic research, clinical validation, cost evaluation and product development for medical applications which include surgery, surgical aide, rehabilitation, nursing, personnel carrier and etc. The mission of ICEMR is to demonstrate the benefits of medical robots and to promote its usage in hospitals.
Our vision is to bring 'Smart Automation in the Operating Theater, in Hospitals and in Healthcare' to bring quality, comfort, high-tech and economy to the patients, surgeons, hospitals and the whole healthcare system.
The ICEMR is located inside the IRCAD-Taiwan AITS which provide direct feedback from outstanding surgeons, access to cutting-age surgical techniques and world leading medical device manufacturers.
The ICEMR is funded by Show Chwan Health Care System which offers sustainable financial backup and clinical platform for medical robot pilot studies and clinical trials.
Click here to visit the ICEMR Website for more information Click here for the latest Research and Development Projects at ICEMS
Click on Image to watch Video
Robot assisted surgery
has been developed since the 1980s due to its programmability, precision, tremor reduction, and non-tiredness. Robots have been applied in orthopedics, neurology, ophthalmology, and in this case Minimally Invasive Surgery. Two types of Robot Assisted-MIS exist:
• A simple camera holder robot holds the laparoscope to provide steady vision and save personnel cost during MIS. It is applicable to most of the MIS procedures but its clinical value is limited. • The second type is the daVinci surgical system® of Intuitive Surgical Inc, which is the most sophisticated system and the only one capable for complete MIS procedure. It restores the lost dexterity and vision to help surgeon with minimal learning to achieve mature surgical performance. However, until now none of these robots are capable to provide an economical solution with functionality.
Since 2000, a team led by Prof. Hendrik Van Brussel, has been exploring and investigating the usability of robot systems during surgery. The team is composed of both engineers and surgeons working together in a synergetic way with the aim of exploiting the benefits of robotics to medical and surgical procedures in order to enhance the quality of surgery in an economically justifiable way. This interdisciplinary team has already successfully demonstrated the advantages in accuracy, in speed and in learning curve of robotized laser laparoscopy. Other contributions have been made in providing haptic and tactile feedback in robotized minimally invasive surgery.
Meet the VESALIUS Project Team at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
Prof. Hendrik Van Brussel
Prof. Dr. ir. H. Van Brussel
is the driving force behind the project, he obtained the degree of technical engineer in mechanical engineering (B.Sc. ME) in 1965 from HTI, Oostende, Belgium; of civil engineer in electronic engineering (M.Sc. EE) in 1968 from K.U. Leuven and of Doctor of Applied Sciences (Ph.D.) in 1971, also from K.U. Leuven.
After obtaining his PhD he was an expert at the Metal Industries Development Centre (MIDC), Bandung, Indonesia, and associate professor at “Institut Teknologi”, also in Bandung, after which he was appointed at K.U. Leuven. In his whole career, spanning a period of almost 40 years, he has been active in the boundary zone between several disciplines (mechanical engineering, electronics and control engineering, information technology), a domain which is presently called "mechatronics". In fact, Professor Van Brussel truly is one of the founders of mechatronics.
Professor Van Brussel is a Fellow of the SME (Society of Manufacturing Engineers) and of the IEEE. He is Doctor Honoris Causa at the Universitatea “Politehnica”, Bucarest, Romania, the Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule (RWTH), Aachen, Germany, and the “Transilvania” University of Braşov, Romania. Professor Van Brussel served as president of CIRP (The International Academy for Production Engineering) and of euspen (European Society for Precision Engineering and Nanotechnology), and he has been instrumental in the setting up of Flanders’ Mechatronics Technology Centre.
Professor Van Brussel advised more than 80 PhD theses. Hundreds of students remember him from his inspired and inspiring lectures in systems theory, electronics, sensors and measurement systems, flexible manufacturing systems, mechatronic drive systems, precision engineering, design of mechatronic systems, mechanical reliability engineering, internal transportation systems, and statistics.
Prof. Philippe Koninckx
Prof. Philippe Koninckx
a primus perpetuus of classic latin-greek high school, received his medical education at the Facultés Notre Dame in Namur and graduated from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, where he trained for OBGYN. Subsequently he trained as an endocrinologist with a PhD on ovarian endocrinology and androgen production. As a student and later as a registrar he developed and introduced at K.U. Leuven the radioimmunoassaysof angiotensins, LH, FSH and prolactin. Clinically, he became board certified in nuclear laboratory medicine and was in charge for the routine hormone laboratory from 1978 till 1996.
Reproductive medicine was his main clinical interest. He started the first menopause clinic on the continent in 1981, and became later in charge of infertility and IVF. The rapid development of endoscopic surgery since 1986, first in infertility, and later in gynecology shifted responsibilities to endoscopic surgery, laser laparoscopic excision of severe endometriosis being actually the main activity.
Academically he is a full professor of OBGYN and director of the center for surgical technologies at KULeuven, a visiting professor, master of arts and honorary Consultant at the University of Oxford, UK and a visiting professor at the Universita Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Roma, Italy.
Professor Koninckx has been of great help in this project because of his extensive knowledge in the field of manual laser laparoscopy
joined the VESALIUS project this year after completing his doctorate. Dr. Thierry Janssens, as Chief Executive Officer (CEO), will be responsible for general management and business development of VESALIUS and will also handle R&D, product design, and initial manufacturing and sourcing.
He has experience in developing and designing mechatronic systems, system modelling and identification and control of mechatronic systems. In the field of tribology, he performed research in dynamic characterisation and modelling of friction for stabilisation and control purposes. He developed a tribometer as a mechatronic system to investigate velocity and normal load dependence of friction.
He has a certificate on the knowledge of business management and participated twice in a mini enterprise, Vlaamse Jonge Ondernemingen. He holds a Master in Engineering Sciences at K.U.Leuven as Mechanical-Electrotechnical Engineer, direction Mechanics, option Mechatronics and Product development. He received his PhD in Engineering at the K.U.Leuven on February 2010.
Mr. Hsin-Fu Huang
holds a BA in Finance and a MA in International Business Economics with outstanding performance, Magna cum laude. Mr. Huang has accumulated great practical experiences. He spent 3 years as an executive staff to the President of Taiwan, responsible for policy coordination, strategy development, and public relation management.
Later, he joined a consultancy agency as a project account, mainly carrying out planning and implementation of the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) project for Microsoft Taiwan. All these background and experiences make him well qualified to conduct administrative management and financial function for VESALIUS.
Remote Center of Motion
The definition of Remote Center of Motion (RCM) is the center of rotation fixed at a point (patient’s incision) where no mechanical component exists. There are several advantages: 1. RCM is always above the patient that minimizes the risk of collision between the robot and patient’s body; while in the same time provide sufficient range of motion to operate the instruments. 2. The control of RCM is decoupled in X, Y and Z-axis and provides simple forward and inverse kinematics to know the position to control robot.
Different mechanisms to provide RCM
The state of the art MIS Robot uses the RCM derived from parallelogram RCM mechanism. It provides big range of motion and sufficient payload. Another circular-prismatic-joint RCM mechanism exists on the commercial camera holder robots but the application is restricted by its small range of motion and little payload. Different from them, the Adjustable-RCM is derived from the instantaneous RCM mechanism to achieve comparable range of motion, big payload, small device foot print, and small working profile for a MIS Robot. The unique point of ARCM is the embedded function of adjusting the center of rotation to align with the incision of the patient. The ARCM technology is applied on the VESALIUS Robot platform and is currently patent pending (PCT/EP2010/056611)
is a common platform to develop Robot Assisted MIS applications. It is one of the safest and most simple robotic platform to be used for surgical purposes. The RCM motion, always on top of the patient feature and its V-shape design minimize the risk of robot-patient collision.
Its non redundant and decoupled degrees of freedom provide the intuitive and exact way of control, even in powerless situation. The adjustment in X and Z axis allows it to cope with variable incision position on patients. (Y axis adjustable by sliding on the rail of operating table). Its high payload enables additional instruments, devices and actuators to be manipulated within patient's body. Best of all is its small working envelope which is preferable for human-robot co-manipulation (Camera holder, Laser surgery robot) and most suitable in multi-robot cooperation (Suturing Robots).
VESALIUS Robot prototype for KU Leuven by Metal Aarschot, Belgium. Click on Image for Photo Gallery.
The Vesalius Robot
is a robot designed to assist surgeons in Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIS). It is able to host additional instruments, devices and intelligent features to customize itself to various MIS surgical tasks. With live demonstration of laser surgery by a voice-controlled camera holder robot, the Vesalius Robot platform proves its flexibility to cope with different MIS tasks thanks to our modular customization concept. This achievement is the outcome of a close collaboration of Prof. Hendrik Van Brussel and Dr. Hsiao-Wei Tang of the Faculty of Engineering, with clinical partner Prof. Philippe Koninckxfrom the University Hospital Gasthuisberg.
VESALIUS Robot is not currently cleared by the CE/FDA and so is limited to Investigational Use.
The VESALIUS Robot
is the first surgical robot which is 100% designed, built and owned by K.U.Leuven. Its goal is to provide accuracy, dexterity, stability and safety in laparoscopic CO2 laser ablation. In addition, thanks to its patent-pending Adjustable Remote Center of Motion (ARCM) mechanism and its modular design, VESALIUS as it is now can already provide the functions as a laparoscope holder robot. With additional R&D in MEMS, HMI, image processing, ergonomics, force feedback, biosensors, image sensors, surgical integration etc., the VESALIUS Robot platform can be easily customized, upgraded and transformed to implement all other potential robot aided MIS procedures.
• View Video for Demonstration
Different from the current market leader that provides one complex system to applied into all kinds of MIS procedures, the VESALIUS Robot uses another approach which is called 'Modular CustoMization' (MCM) that the system is customized to the level of specific surgical procedure with the integration of existing modules.
The advantages of MCM are: 1. Because every surgical procedure is mostly standardized, the customization action can directly improve the ergonomics and conveniences with least tradeoff. 2. Many technical modules like sensors, instruments and algorithms are available and very reliable. The demand-driven integration with VRP will generate new IP, knowhow and surgical applications.
The Image above shows the examples of MCM approach. Two levels are proposed. The basic components in Level 1 are called modules. The resulting unit is defined as a Surgical Functional Unit (SFU). A SFU provides task-specific functions in a surgical procedure. For example, a camera holder allows the surgeon to control the movement of the camera. In level 2, several SFUs can be assembled with modules to obtain more versatile functionalities such as the example of a daVinci-like surgical system.
The VESALIUS Laser Robot
The VESALIUS Laser Robot
is made up by installation of the conventional operative laparoscope and CO2 laser on the VESALIUS Robot Platform (VRP) with man-machine interface. The Intuitive Writing Interface (IWI) receives pen input from user and converts the signal to control the laser trajectory. The What-You-Draw-Is-What-You-Cut (WYDIWYC) method gives user the feeling of writing the laser directly which is very intuitive and more accurate than traditional operative laparoscopy. In Dr. Tang’s past research he conducted a comparative experiment of 34 subjects and defined an Index of Time and Error (ITE) to evaluate the performances via the use of IWI.....The results
The VESALIUS Camera Holder (VCH)
The VESALIUS Camera Holder (VCH)
is the most basic application on VESALIUS Robot Platform (VRP). With the integration of traditional laparoscope and selective man-machine interfaces on VRP, it stabilizes the images of the surgical site and returns the control back to surgeon. Through our communication with several surgeons, the benefits of a camera holder are confirmed to have steady image and self control capability. The personnel shortage in small and medium size hospitals is also an incentive for them to make use of this technology....continue reading
The advanced functions on VCH
The VCH knows the exact position and posture of the laparoscope. The position estimates are sent to the image processing algorithm to rebuild 3D information of the surgical site. The left picture shows the VCH capturing the image of a uterus and the right picture is its 3D reconstruction.
The VCH captures the image of a uterus
3D reconstruction of the uterus
The Visions for 2020 by Prof. Hendrik van Brussel and Dr. Hsiao-Wei Tang
The ultimate goal of the VESALIUS Robot
is to bring the advanced robotic technology into the medical environment to assist surgeons to deliver affordable high-quality service to all patients.
We are prepared to work together and share our knowledge with everybody to bring 'Smart Automation in the Operating Theater, in Hospitals and in Healthcare' to bring quality, comfort, high-tech and economy to the patients, surgeons, hospitals and the whole healthcare system.
These are the visions by Prof. Hendrik Van Brussel and Dr. Hsiao-Wei Tang:
• Medical robots will be affordable to every people in need • Medical robots will become standard equipment in every hospital • Medical robots will improve accuracy, speed, dexterity and safety to surgery compared to manual techniques • Medical robots will reduce the learning curve in acquiring surgical skills • Medical robots will cut down the waiting queue for surgery • Medical robots will reduce the public healthcare cost • Medical robots will upgrade the life quality of medical professionals
VESALIUS Robot won 'The Best Commercial Business Plan' in Start Academy
Left to Right; Hsin-Fu Huang, Dr. Thierry Janssens and Dr. Hsiao-Wei Tang.
History of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
The K.U.Leuven Library
Situated in the heart of Western Europe,
K.U.Leuven has been a centre of learning for almost six centuries. Founded in 1425 by Pope Martin V, it bears the double honour of being the oldest existant Catholic university in the world and the oldest university in the Low Countries.
In its early days, the university was modelled on the universities of Paris, Cologne, and Vienna. In a short time, it grew into one of the largest and most renowned universities in Europe.
Its academic fame attracted numerous scholars who made valuable contributions to European culture. In the sixteenth century the humanist Desiderius Erasmus lectured there, where he founded the Collegium Trilingue in 1517 for the study of Hebrew, Latin, and Greek - the first of its kind. The tutor of the young emperor Charles V, Adriaan Cardinal Florensz of Utrecht, (The Netherlands), was a professor there before being elected in 1522 as the last non-Italian Pope before Pope John Paul II. The philologist, legal scholar, and historian Justus Lipsius taught there for many years.
Not all has been trouble-free, though, in the university's illustrious history. It has had its share of difficulties during the various social and political upheavals in this region from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries.
More recently, the two World Wars of the twentieth century deeply scarred the university. In 1914, the University Hall with its precious library was set ablaze by German troops and 300,000 books were reduced to ashes. Afterwards, an international solidarity campaign with a major American contribution helped construct a new library on the present Ladeuzeplein. Unfortunately, this library was burned down in 1940 during the Second World War and this time only 15,000 of its 900,000 volumes were saved. Since then, the university library, and in fact the entire university, has undergone a thorough reconstruction.
The university is located in Flanders, the Dutch-speaking northern part of Belgium. With the Dutch language's steady rise to renewed prominence, 1968 saw the university split into two new universities. The French-speaking Université Catholique de Louvain moved to the newly built campus in Louvain-la-Neuve. The Dutch-speaking Katholieke Universiteit Leuven remained in the historic town of Leuven....read more
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